There’s this spot I always pass as I drive into my town where you can practically see forever. The city looks much smaller than the sprawling place it’s become, and the trees give it a peaceful, serene quality. (Much more peaceful, say, then it feels on the main drag at 5 p.m. as everyone is getting off work. They’re hurried and weary, impatiently honking horns as they notice in the rear-view how tired and run-down they look. More days then I want to admit, I’m one of them.) Looking straight ahead, past Silverdale and its self-important busyness, are acres and acres of quiet woods. They often resemble a painting—evergreen, then a deep bluish hue, and then fading into a hazy gray off in the distance before your eyes stray to the beauty of the rugged Olympic peaks.
If I look to my left, I have an incredible view of Dyes Inlet—home to herons, bald eagles, gulls and orcas—and onetime refuge for me when I was a lonelier, younger version of myself. I grew up not far from there, and I’d often run down the path to where it met the water’s edge for time to think. I would just sit there, my arms pulling my knees up tight into my chest to brace against the chill breeze. Just sitting. No one watching, no one expecting anything and no one to impress or disappoint. Just time to talk to God and listen to the water lapping up on the rocky shore. The only thing present to break the peace was a fish jumping or a bird singing. Welcome interruptions.
On a particular night, a traffic light stopped me right in that very spot, where your gaze can go on forever. And it held me there. Normally, I’m annoyed to be the first one stopped, as it means that I wait the longest, especially this week. I’ve been hurried, stressed and troubled. So tangled up in my own knots that I’ve been unaware to the moments and people around me. Not so tonight. I let myself look up, beyond the city and beyond the noise. I let myself be that small girl again. I let myself stare for once at the beauty all around me, and I drank it up. The sun was just starting to go down and the clouds were a piercing display of gold. Rays shone down through the clouds, the kind that always make me feel that God’s about to say something important, that some kind of big announcement is coming.
And as I just let myself be, God did say something important. Granted, I’ve never heard God speak in the audible sense, but there are many ways to hear, and in my experience it seems that the heart hears best of all. He said:
Take the time to look up, Stacey. I’m still here. In the midst of your circumstances, in the midst of your troubles, I am here. If you see only the busyness, the day-to-day, the mundane, the silent screaming of the world around you, of course your heart will be laid low. So look up! Look for Me … look for My perspective, and you will find hope. I am working in ways that you don’t see, and often putting things together in ways you don’t understand. But never doubt that I am here, and that I love you. Look up!
Corinthians 4:16-18 states, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Maybe it’s about time to change the angle of your perspective. Maybe it’s time to look up.
[Stacey is a 24-year-old pastoral intern and wannabe writer for NewLife Church in Silverdale, WA, when she’s not pretending to be a legal secretary during business hours. God’s grace constantly astonishes her—she has yet to catch her breath.]